Cherishing Love Amidst Loss
By Elva Carri
This summer I lost someone I love. I count myself very fortunate that, until now, the only people I’ve lost who were dear to me, were elderly. I knew it was inevitable that one day that would no longer be the case and I felt that there was no way to prepare. In the sadness however, there were things that emerged as special, or a comfort. I realise that as humans, death is something we mostly prefer not to consider in our day to day lives, but it’s worthy of more of our time than we give it.
I DIDNT GET TO SAY GOODBYE
When I found out the news, this was what hit me hardest. I had shrouded myself in a belief that she would beat cancer, but it was all I could think about the day that I heard. I had the honour of reading at her funeral, one that celebrated her life very beautifully, and so I treated that as my farewell but it will never be the same as what I wished I would have done. If you ever find yourself in a situation where you didn’t have a moment to say goodbye, I would encourage you to find some way to do this. The tears that come feel like they need to happen.
WHAT STAYED WITH ME
I have carried two major things around with me since losing her. The first is sadness that she’s gone. The second is memories of her laughing and smiling and us talking together. For reasons that would take a while to explain, I can’t load the dishwasher without remembering our conversations fondly. I feel like she’s with me when I do that and I feel blessed that I had so much wonderful time with her. I am also so pleased that I can remember so vividly her face when she was really happy or laughing and I’ve sworn to now memorise those expressions of everyone I love.
THE NOD OF ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
Nobody knows what to say to someone who’s lost someone they love. While this person was someone special to me, I didn’t know what to say to people she was even more special to – her husband and children whom I also love. I said whatever I could and hoped it would do. But at the funeral I noticed something that I never thought about before. At times in life, I’ve wondered if it would be “appropriate” for me to go to someone’s funeral. Hundreds of people arrived at hers and the number felt like an acknowledgement of the size of the hole left in the world that day. Even if no one had said a word, I felt it marked the size of the loss. I’d beg you to keep it in mind the times you may be considering if it’s appropriate to go to someone else’s.
There is a Bahá’í quote that says, “I have made death a messenger of joy to thee. Wherefore dost thou grieve?” While it seems unusual, it gained some clarity for me through this occasion. I remembered the laughter and the smiles and the warmth, I spent time with other people I love, joined together in marking the excellent life of a woman we all cherished and it has put a dedicated servant of the world to the fore of my mind for me to work to live up to. For that, I’m grateful to have known someone so hard to lose.